Kochi, Dec. 21
The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) has called upon the Governments of India and Pakistan to fully implement the shipping protocol signed by the two countries in 2006 to promote the role of ports and shipping in regional co-operation in South Asia.
The 42 nd Congress of the ITF, which was held in Mexico City recently, noted that Pakistan merchant marine was among the worst affected by the global situation, which had led to a reduction in trade volumes and a decline in freight rates.
Besides, the non-existence of a defined shipping policy and a Merchant Shipping Act had further worsened the situation in Pakistan.
The strength of a national fleet owned by the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation will be reduced to three from the current 10 resulting in the loss of permanent employment with a diminishing fleet.
This would force officers to seek employment on FOC registered ships known for their poor safety standards, unhygienic conditions, low and non-payment of wages, abandonment of ships and even non-payment of death and disability compensation to seafarers.